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- Created: Sunday, 12 March 2017 21:57
The OHL Cup is the most coveted showcase tournament of the season for AAA minor midget programs across Ontario. With twenty of the best teams converging on North Toronto for the week-long event, the OHL Cup provides a platform for aspiring OHL players to showcase their talents to scouts packing the ScotiaBank Pond facility.
Champions and runner ups from Ontario’s respective regions – OMHA, GTHL and ALLIANCE – are joined from all-star squads from Total Package Hockey (TPH Thunder), Elite Hockey Group (EHG), Team NOHA (Northern Ontario), Thunder Bay Kings (HNO representative) and Team HEO (represented by Eastern Ontario Wild ’01 Bantam squad). Additionally, ten top teams from across the remaining regions have solidified spots in the Wildcard play-in games Tuesday in hopes of advancing into the main tournament Tuesday through Monday.
Here at TheScout.ca we are taking a break from compiling our final 2017 OHL Draft Rankings (to be released to subscribers prior to the 2017 Priority Selection) to preview the teams and players to watch at the OHL Cup.
Part 1 – Nash Division Preview
Part 2 – Subban Division Preview
Part 3 – Shanahan Division Preview
Part 4 - Lindros Division Preview
Our focus for the second installment features the Subban Division.
London Jr. Knights (ALLIANCE Champ)
Brampton 45s (OMHA Silver)
Toronto Jr. Canadiens (GTHL Semi-Finalist)
TPH Thunder (USA Invite)
Wildcard 1 (Winner of Mississauga Senators vs. York Simcoe Express)
London Jr. Knights
The London Jr. Knights are arguably the hottest Ontario-based team heading into the OHL Cup. Ranked #1 on the OHL Cup Rankings, London recently captured the Alliance Championship as they posted a remarkable record of 10-0-1 in playoff action along the way.
Players to Watch:
#6 Ryan Suzuki, C – As the OHL Draft draws closer, all signs point to Suzuki being one of the first players off of the board. A cerebral offensive attacker with elite playmaking vision, Suzuki excels at getting the pucks on his teammates stick regardless of the pressure he’s under. He’s a player who manages pace well and never seems to be pinched off and forced into bad plays.
#7 Brett Budgell, C – ScotiaBank Pond will not only have loads of OHL scouts in attendance but also QMJHL scouts as well and the majority of them will be on hand to assess Newfoundlander Brett Budgell. A stocky, strong pivot with outstanding hockey sense, Budgell manages the game extremely well and has an innate sense of when to strike and when to dish off. Currently, he’s ineligible for the OHL Priority Selection but if he does get granted access then he will almost surely be a 1st round candidate. Budgell will turn heads at the OHL Cup…guaranteed.
#13 Aidan Prueter, C – A staff favourite, Prueter is London’s most consistent offensive player and his versatility and ability to play in all situations should (or at least in our opinion) see him drafted inside the first round. He’s a tenacious attacker who is always around the puck and his knack for handling and executing in traffic is as good as any player in this draft.
#8 Liam Van Loon, C/LW – An ultra-competitive forward who refuses to recognize that he’s undersized, Van Loon has been clutch for the Jr. Knights in playoff action – including a two-goal effort in their 2-1 OT Championship winning game. He’s excellent at pushing the pace north-south and relies on his pursuit to put defenders in uncomfortable positions before attacking the scoring area quickly.
#16 Jeffrey Burridge, RW – Burridge draws a lot of draft chatter and rightfully so, given that his big and owns a threatening snap shot capable of beating goaltenders from the perimeter. He’s not the most fluid skater or handler but he seems to see the ice well enough to move pucks and then get open to release his coveted snap shot.
#15 Peter Fleming, RW/C – He’s not the biggest name on the Jr. Knights but we’ve liked the skill level that Fleming has shown throughout the season. He’s lanky and owns a soft touch with the puck, showcasing an ability to extend puck time with smart situational awareness. He owns the skill and smarts to enjoy a breakout OHL Cup so be forewarned.
#10 Mason Howard, LD – Strong sturdy defender who’s lifted fans out of their seats with bone-crushing body checks and we know he’s good for at least one per game, especially on the big stage of the OHL Cup. While his skating remains his biggest weakness, his puck management and transitioning ability score well above average so he’s considered a legitimate Top 100 prospect come draft time.
#30 Owen Say, G – The Jr. Knights have started to lean on Owen Say more and more when games are on the line and the below-average sized puck stopper rarely disappoints. He’s a competitive goaltender who shows excellent lateral control and plays the game with the confidence of a 6-foot-1 goaltender.
Total Package Hockey Thunder (TPH)
The second of two American select teams who will participate at the OHL Cup, TPH is taking advantage of USA Hockey moving their NTDP Camp back a weekend and have rostered some ELITE talents. Most noticeable, John Beecher (Salisbury School) and Tag Bertuzzi (Oakland Jr. Grizzlies) will headline the impressive group and are locks for Top 10 selection if they declare the OHL as their route of choice. It should be noted that both are uncommitted players which makes their attendance all the more important.
Players to Watch...